Chennai: Teenager Yuki Bhambri kept his nerves at the finish to knock out a higher-ranked Slovak Karol Beck 6-2, 6-3 in just 79 minutes to enter the second round of the ATP Aircel Chennai Open here Monday.
The sparse crowd at the Centre Court cheered on the 19-year-old, Delhi-based Bhambri who wobbled just a bit at the end of both sets, but Beck could not capitalise on the openings that came his way.
However, Bhambri, ranked 345 to Beck`s 101, will certainly relish just his second men`s tour win, the previous being in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2010 where, like here, he had received a wild card entry.
Bhambri next faces top seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic who received a bye into the second round.
Barely 24 hours earlier, Leander Paes, the high priest of Indian tennis, had lamented the lack of progress of young Indian players and even commented that not much was seen of Bhambri who was once ranked No.1 among juniors following his success at the Australian Open.
For sure, not just Paes, but his countrymen would have sat up and noticed Bhambri on a day that saw him play smart if not powerful tennis to scalp Beck who was simply not in the zone and committed far too many errors to make any impression.
Building his game around the serve, Bhambri denied Beck the pace and also played with a great deal of intelligence to outwit the 29-year-old Slovak who was broken thrice in the first set and twice in the second.
On his part, Bhambri faltered twice, when serving for the first set at 5-1 and then at the same stage in the second when he closed the tie on his fifth match point.
Singles - Main Draw (1st round): WC-Yuki Bhambri bt Karol Beck (SVK) 6-2, 6-3.
Qualifying (winners enter main draw): Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt 6-Rik de Voest (RSA) 7-6 (0), 6-1; 4-Vasek Pospisil (CAN) bt 8-Rajeev Ram (USA) 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3; Thiemo de Bakker (NED) bt 3-Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 6-2, 6-4; 5-Go Saeda (JPN) bt 2-Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (5).